The recession has led to a re-examination of what creates business success and one important factor to emerge is that 'good work' can be at the heart of good performance and is as vital to the small and medium-sized enterprise as to any corporate because a highly competitive global market applies to all. You need to be prepared for life after recession; to be ready to make the most of it; to be in the front line of your particular area of expertise.
In his "Key Speech" in 1955, Ove Arup spelt out the importance to business success of motivating your employees. To quote: "There are two ways of looking at the work you do to earn a living: One is... Work is a necessary evil... The other is: To make your work interesting and rewarding. You enjoy both your work and your leisure. We opt uncompromisingly for the second way."
Ove Arup established a world-wide company and this fact just emphasises the strength of his argument; his principles apply equally to smaller enterprises. Indeed, it is probably easier to implement these principles when you have a relatively small workforce. His point is that you need to inspire your employees to feel important and valuable, but you cannot just assume you know what makes them feel that way. You need to make the effort to find out and then collaborate with them to achieve those results. Done properly, it will be time well spent and you will find the enterprise of which you are head has the motivation to surge forward and ahead of competitors.
Surveys referred to in "Good Work in our Times" published by The Work Foundation illustrate that, for employees, a list of priorities is not always topped by wages and bonuses. High on the list are trust and integrity, pride in the job, career growth opportunities and employee development.
Young people have grown up with technology and are unphased by that particular aspect of modern business; they like team working; flexible working; place high value on learning opportunities and are very environmentally conscious. Through Facebook and Twitter, they can make comparisons of work experience across a wide area so your success or failure could be advertised - it would therefore be wise to have your employees singing your praises!
So if you build trust and mutual respect; keep your staff involved in developing policies; establish early discussion of any potential problems; allow them to enjoy the satisfaction expressed by clients when their efforts are successful - they will be a potent force for helping you to achieve success.
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